Dr Micha Lazarus, Trinity




Biographical Information

Academia.edu   |   Warburg Institute


I arrived at Trinity College as a Research Fellow in 2015.  I was an undergraduate and doctoral student at St John's College, Oxford, and spent time in between at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of California, Berkeley, where I was awarded an MA by Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Since then I've taught Renaissance literature and served on admissions for several colleges in Oxford and Cambridge, held a Frances A. Yates Research Fellowship at the Warburg Institute (2020-21), and been awarded further fellowships by the Harry Ransom Center (2016), Dumbarton Oaks (2017), the Renaissance Society of America (2018), the Folger Shakespeare Library (2019, 2021), and the Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel (2022). I am an Early Career Associate of the Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama in Oxford, a recipient of the Gordon Duff Prize in book history from both Oxford (2012) and Cambridge (2020), and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. I remain an Associate Fellow at the Warburg Institute, while training for the Bar as a scholar of the Honourable Society of Lincoln's Inn.


Research Interests

I work on the reception of classical and continental literature in sixteenth-century England, bridging the divide between learning and vernacular literary innovation.  Much of my work in this field focuses on how the recovery of classical poetics transformed and was transformed by literary practice.

My first book, Aristotle’s Poetics in Renaissance England (in preparation, OUP), traces the English influence of this foundational work of literary criticism several decades earlier than has previously been thought. An introduction to my work in this field can be found in 'Aristotelian Criticism in Sixteenth-Century England' (see below).

I am currently working on two book projects. The first, Alexander Nowell's Early Life and Books (in preparation, The Bibliographical Society), edits a remarkable manuscript booklist of around 250 individual titles, which offers the chance to reconstruct an economic micro-history of the book in mid-Tudor Oxford and London. The second, entitled Reformation Literary Criticism (in preparation, Brill), tells the story of an extraordinary moment in which ancient literature occupied the heart of the Reformation. From the 1530s to the 1550s a school of literary thought coalesced around Philip Melanchthon and his circle at Wittenberg. Disseminated mostly through Latin prefaces and commentaries in editions of the classical poets and dramatists, the Wittenberg school's reading of the classical corpus radiated across northern Europe, stimulating fresh literary experiment and providing a vocabulary for the lived experience of political and confessional schism. An introduction to my work in this field is 'Tragedy at Wittenberg: Sophocles in Reformation Europe' (see below), and in September 2021 Lucy Nicholas and I organised a conference at the Warburg Institute entitled Classical Reformations: Beyond Christian Humanism.

With Vladimir Brljak, I convene Poetics before Modernity, an international project on literary theory in the West and neighbouring traditions from antiquity to the Enlightenment. The first publication under PbM's umbrella has now come out, a special issue of Classical Receptions Journal entitled Artes poeticae: Formations and Transformations, 1500-1650, and several more are in progress. I'm also Co-Investigator, with Gavin Alexander, on English Renaissance Poetics Online (ERPO), a digital project that maps the influence of classical and Renaissance poetics in English writing from 1500-1700.

I am also part of the literary community devoted to the memory and poetry of Isaac Rosenberg, a cousin on my mother's side. Isaac was born on 5 November 1890, the eldest son of impoverished Jewish immigrants from Lithuania; by his death on dawn patrol on 1 April, 1918, at the age of twenty-seven, he had composed some of the most powerful poetry of the war generation, scribbling his poems on scrap paper and sending them home to England. On 10 November, 2018, I was proud to narrate Isaac's poetry in a concert at Trinity, in a marvellous work for brass band by composer Liz Lane, Silver Rose.


Areas of Graduate Supervision

English and continental Renaissance literature; history of scholarship; humanism; translation; neo-Latin literature; classical reception; Greek learning.


Selected Publications

Edited volumes

Poetics before Modernity: Literary Theory in the West from Antiquity to 1700, co-edited with Vladimir Brljak (Oxford University Press, forthcoming, c.2022)

Artes poeticae: Formations and Transformations, 1500-1700, co-edited with Vladimir Brljak, special issue of Classical Receptions Journal 13.1 (2021)  [online here]


Articles and book chapters

'Academic Freedom on Trial: Stephen Gardiner (1483-1555), letter to John Cheke, 15 May 1542', in An Anthology of Neo-Latin Literature in British Universities, ed. Lucy Nicholas and Gesine Manuwald (Bloomsbury, forthcoming, 2022)

'Birdsongs and Sonnets: Acoustic Imitation in Renaissance Lyric', Huntington Library Quarterly (forthcoming, Winter 2021)

'Introduction: Poetics as Classical Reception', in Artes poeticae: Formations and Transformations, 1500-1650, ed. Vladimir Brljak and Micha Lazarus, special issue of Classical Receptions Journal 13.1 (2021), 1-8  [online here]

'Sublimity by fiat: New Light on the English Longinus', in The Places of Early Modern Criticism, ed. Gavin Alexander, Emma Gilby, and Alexander Marr (Oxford University Press, 2021), 191-205  [online here]

'Inventory Booklists in Legal Context', Transactions of the Cambridge Bibliographical Society XVII.1 (2020), 75-82

'The Scholemaster’s Memories', in Roger Ascham and His Sixteenth-Century World, ed. Lucy R. Nicholas and Ceri Law (Brill, 2020), 226-47  [online here]

'Ascham’s Bookshelf', in Roger Ascham and His Sixteenth-Century World, ed. Lucy R. Nicholas and Ceri Law (Brill, 2020), 297-320  [online here]

'Tragedy at Wittenberg: Sophocles in Reformation Europe', Renaissance Quarterly 73.1 (2020), 33-77  [online here]

'Sound Aristotelians and How They Read', in The Reception of Aristotle’s Poetics in the Italian Renaissance and Beyond: New Directions in Criticism, ed. Bryan Brazeau (Bloomsbury, 2020), 38-59  [online here]

'First night nerves', Westminster Abbey Review 6 (Summer, 2019), 43-47

'"Anonymous to This Day": Aristotle and the Question of Verse', in 'In Other Words': Translating Philosophy in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, ed. David Lines and Anna L. Puliafito, special issue of Rivista di storia della filosofia 74.2 (2019), 267-85  [online here]

'Samuel Daniel and Talon's Rhetoric', Notes and Queries 65.4 (2018), 560-64  [online here]

'The Dramatic Prologues of Alexander Nowell: Accommodating the Classics at 1540s Westminster', Review of English Studies 69.288 (2018), 32-55  [online here]

'Poetry and Horseplay in Sidney’s Defence of Poesie', The Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 79 (2016), 149-82  [online here]  [JSTOR]

'Greek in Tudor England', The Etheridge Project (British Library & Hellenic Institute of Royal Holloway, University of London, 2016), 8 pp.  [online here]

'Aristotelian Criticism in Sixteenth-Century England', in Oxford Handbooks Online (Oxford University Press, 2016), 30 pp.  [online here]

'Sidney's Greek Poetics', Studies in Philology 112.3 (2015), 504-36  [online here]  [JSTOR]

'Greek Literacy in Sixteenth-century England', Renaissance Studies 29.3 (2015), 433-58  [online here]

'Silent Years and Speaking Books: Nicholas Udall in 1533', Notes and Queries 62.1 (2015), 35-39  [online here]

'Did Thomas Linacre bring Aristotle's Poetics to England?', under consideration at Bodleian Library Record


Book reviews & public engagement

Review of Mark A. Lotito, The Reformation of Historical Thought (Brill, 2019), Renaissance Quarterly (forthcoming, 2022)

Review of R. M. Thomson, The Fox and the Bees: The Early Library of Corpus Christi College, Oxford (Cambridge, 2018), Speculum 96.2 (2021), 567-68  [online here]

Review of Tamara Atkin and Laura Estill (eds.), Early British Drama in Manuscript (Turnhout, 2019), The Library 21.4 (2020), 540-42  [online here]  [Project Muse]

Review of Jonathan Bate, How the Classics Made Shakespeare (Princeton, 2019), Translation and Literature 29.1 (2020), 154-61  [online here]

'If You Don't Know, Just Ascham', blog post for Renaissance Research Group, University of Cambridge, 11 Dec, 2019

An Aristotle donated in memory of Mildred CecilEarly Modern Female Book Ownership, 4 Feb, 2019

Silver Rose (Liz Lane / Isaac Rosenberg), WWI Memorial Concert, Trinity College Chapel, 10 Nov, 2018


Recent and Upcoming Talks

'Poetics among the Disciplines.' Poetics before Modernity panel at Scientiae 2021 conference, Amsterdam, 9-12 Jun, 2021

'Elizabeth, Isocrates, and Roger Ascham’s Last Tutorial.' Elizabethan and Jacobean Books & Readers, panel at RSA Virtual 2020, 13-22 Apr, 2021

Greek Humanism – Contexts and Contests. Roundtable at RSA Virtual 2021, 13-22 Apr, 2021

'Roger Ascham’s Working Library.' Warburg Institute, 27 Jan, 2021

'Northern Renaissances: Reforming the Classics in Wittenberg and Beyond.' Warburg Institute, 2 Dec, 2020

'Whose Classics?' Warburg Institute, 9 Nov, 2020

'Birds and Music: The Sounds of Lyric in Renaissance Europe.' Dickinson College, 6 Apr, 2020  [postponed due to plague]

'Shakespeare's Aristotle: The Poetics in Renaissance England.' Delivered at:

Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama, Oxford, 24 Feb, 2020
Skenè Research Centre for Interdisciplinary Theatre and Drama Studies, University of Verona, 21 Nov, 2019
Classical Reception Seminar Series, University of Cambridge, 12 Nov, 2019
Renaissance Colloquium, Harvard University, 10 Apr, 2019
Classics Faculty colloquium, University of Pennsylvania, 15 Mar, 2018
English Faculty, University of California, Berkeley, 26 Feb, 2018
Faculties of Medieval Studies, Classics, and Literature, Bard College, 19 Feb, 2018
English Faculty, Princeton University, 15 Feb, 2018

'Theophilactus & a Nyght Capp: The Social Life of Books in Tudor England.' Bibliographical Society Lecture, Society of Antiquaries, London, 21 Jan, 2020

'Greek With Consequences: The Greek Pronunciation Controversy of 1540s Cambridge and the Byzantine Spanner in the Works.' Fellows' Research Talk, Trinity College, Cambridge, 30 Oct, 2019

Eloquentia Academica, University of Leicester, 5-6 Sep, 2019

'"The First Great Fiat": Divine Speech and Literary Sublimity.' Poetics, Aesthetics, Criticism, 1640-1760, panel at ISECS International Congress, University of Edinburgh, 14-19 Jul, 2019

'"The English Iliad is truly miserable": Tragedy in Reformation Europe.' Material Witness Colloquium, Folger Shakespeare Library, 21 Mar, 2019

'Melanchthon and the Tragic Reformation.' Early Modern Views of Classical Greek Tragedy, panel at RSA 2019 Toronto, 17-19 Mar, 2019

‘Fighting over Greek in Early Modern Europe.’ Roundtable with Tanya Pollard and Jessica Wolfe, CUNY Graduate Center, 22 Feb, 2019

'Sophocles Reformed: Christian Tragedy in the Northern Renaissance.' Renaissance Workshop, University of Chicago, 28 Jan, 2019

Sonnet Structures, King's College London, 26 Nov, 2018

'Birdsongs and Sonnets: Listening to Renaissance Lyric.' University College London, 20 Nov, 2018

'Lucius Florus and a pownde of prunes: what was a book in Tudor Oxford?' History of Material Texts Seminar, University of Cambridge, 25 Oct, 2018

'Sophocles in Exile: Reforming Tragedy from Wittenberg to Cambridge.' Ancient Greek Drama in Latin 1506-1590. Readership, Translation, and Circulation, King’s College, London, 3-4 Sep, 2018

'Rhetores Graeci: The Tree of the Book.' Greek Matters, University of York, 19 Jul, 2018

'The English PetRAAWRK! Birdsong in an Elizabethan Madrigal.' Song Seminar, University of Cambridge, 9 May, 2018

'Petrarch and the Nightingale.' Imitation and Lyric Poetics: New Comparative Perspectives, panel at RSA 2018 New Orleans, 22-24 Mar, 2018

'Reformation Poetics and the Wittenberg Sophocles.' Poetics before Modernity Conference 2017, CRASSH, University of Cambridge, 14-15 Dec, 2017

'Tragedy at Wittenberg.' English Faculty Research Seminar, University of Cambridge, 20 Nov, 2017

'Anonymous to this day: Aristotle and the Question of Verse.' In Other Words: Translating Philosophy in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, University of Warwick, 10-12 May, 2017

'Terence, Seneca, and the Gods of Westminster.' New Texts in English Criticism, panel at RSA 2017 Chicago, 30 Mar-1 Apr, 2017

'Safe Reading at 1540s Westminster: New Discoveries from a Bodleian Manuscript.' Fellows' Research Talk, Trinity College, Cambridge, 18 May, 2016

'Sublimity by fiat: New Light on the English Longinus.' Readings and Rewritings of Ancient Texts, 1650-1800, Corpus Christi College, Oxford, 14 May, 2016

'Nowell's Little Soldiers: Terence, Seneca, and the God Aesculapius in 1540s Westminster.' Early Modern Interdisciplinary Seminar, University of Cambridge, 4 May, 2016

'Diphthongs and Wormwood: Aristotle's Poetics from Cheke to Shakespeare.' University of Texas at Austin, 11 Apr, 2016

'Gran tempo abbandonata, & negletta: The Rediscoveries of Aristotle's Poetics.' Lost and Found, panel at RSA 2016 Boston, 31 Mar-2 Apr, 2016